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Presidential Debate

Series/Special. Jim Lehrer. (2012) The presidential candidates' discussion of issues takes place at the University of Denver; Jim Lehrer moderates; analysis follows. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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02:00:00

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PG

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Virtual Ch. 107 (CURNT)

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ac3

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528

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480

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Romney 65, Us 23, Al Gore 11, Massachusetts 9, Obamacare 5, Jennifer 5, Obama 5, United States 4, Jim Lehrer 4, Jim 4, Eliot 3, Denver 2, Vo 2, Medicare 2, China 2, Cleveland 2, Ryan 2, Gore 2, Donald Trump 2, Bill Clinton 2,
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  Current    Presidential Debate    Series/Special. Jim Lehrer.  (2012) The presidential  
   candidates' discussion of issues takes place at the University of...  

    October 3, 2012
    6:00 - 8:00pm PDT  

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we will have analysis right afterwards so stay right with us, and you'll be able to see the fact checking on twitter as they are speaking and hear from us on twitter as well. so stay. >> cenk: all right. we are back and about to see the debate. i love the moment when they step out like in the state of the union when they say the president of the united states of america. goods me good butterflies. i love politics. jim lehrer is already seated ready to go, and he'll do the standard introductions. any memorable moments from debates in the past that you remember, eliot? >> then only one -- seeing this ten seconds to go brings it back. i had a problem with one of my
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opponents that had a binder on the lectern and the moderator had to run up and take it off. and i think it totally threw my opponent. >> al gore: i think the single best line is when ronald reagan said i'm not going to make an issue of age and hold my opponent's age against him. great good humor, funny, but it ended the race. >> cenk: yeah, to the point we were discussing earlier about substance, you know, one of the most memorable moments was when george hw bush looked at his watch. here we go. >> i'm jim lehrer and i welcome you to the first of the 2012
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presidential debates between president barack obama the democratic nominee, and form massachusetts governor mitt romney, the republican nominee. this debate as the next three, two presidential, one vice presidential are sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. tonight's 90 minutes will be about domestic issues and will follow a format designed by the commission. there will be six roughly 15 minute segments. thousands of people offered suggestions on segment subjects but i made the final selections and for the record they were not submitted for approval to the commission or the candidates. the segments will be three on the economy and one each on
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health care the role of government, and governing. with an emphasis throughout on differences, specifics, and choices. both candidates will also have two-minute closing statements. the audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent. no cheers applause boos hiss among other noisy distracting things, so we may all concentrate on what the candidates have to say. there is a noise exception right now, though as we welcome president obama and governor romney. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> jim. >> gentlemen, welcome to you both. let's start the economy segment 1, and let's begin with jobs. what are the major differences between the two of you about creating new jobs? you have two minutes -- each of you have two minutes to start. a coin toss has been determined mr. president you go first. >> obama: thank you very much for this opportunity. i want to thank governor romney and the university of colorado for your hospitality. 20 years ago i became the luckiest man on earth because michelle obama agreed to a marry me. so i just want to wish sweety you happy anniversary, and let you know a year from now we will not be celebrating it in front
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of 40 million people. [ laughter ] >> obama: four years ago we went through the worst financial crisis since the great depression. millions of jobs were lost the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, the financial system has frozen up and because of the resilience and determination of the american people we have begun to fight our way back. we have seen 5 million jobs in the private sector created. the auto industry has come roaring back and house has begun to rise. but we all know we still have a lot of work to do. so the question is not where we have been, but where we're going. governor romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes, skewed towards the wealthy and roll back regulations, that we'll be better off. i have a different view. i think we have got to invest in education and training. i think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy here in america.
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that we change our tax code to make sure we're helping small businesses and companies here in the united states, that we take some of the money we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild america. now it ultimately is going to be up to the voters, to you, which path we should take. are we going to double down on the top-down economic policies that helped get us into this mess, or embrace a new economic patriotism, that says america does best when the middle class does best. >> governor romney two minutes. >> romney: thing you, jim. i'm i'm -- pleased to be here with the president and to be here. and congratulations to you, mr. president, i'm sure this is the
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most romantic place you could imagine here with me. [ laughter ] >> romney: i have had the occasion of meeting people across the country. i was in dayton ohio and a woman grabbed my arm and said i have been out of work since july, can you helped me. ann romney was at a rally and a woman came up to her and said we lost our jobs and our home. can you help us? and the answer is yes, we can help. but it will take a different path. not the one we have been on, not the one the president describes as a top-down tax cut for the rich, that's not what i'm going to do. one get us north american energy independent, number two, open up more trade particularly in latin america, crack down on china,
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make sure our people have the skills they need to achieve. get us to an balanced budget, number five champion small business, it's small business that creates the jobs in america, and small business people have decided that america may not be the place to open a new business. because new business startups are down to a 30-year low. i know what it takes to get small business going again. to hire people. i'm concerned the path we're on just hasn't been successful. the president has a view that bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more, if you will, trickle-down government would work, that's not the right answer for america. i'll restore the vitality that gets america working again. thank you. >> mr. president please respond directly to what the governor just said about trickle down -- his trickle-down approach as he said yours is.
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>> obama: let me talk specifically about what i think we need to do. first we have got to improve our education system. and we have made enormous progress drawing on ideas both from democrats and republicans. that are already starting to show gains in some of the toughest to deal with schools. we have a program called race to the top that has prompted reforms in 46 states around the country, raising standards in how the train teachers. i want to hire another 100,000 math and science teachers. and i want to make sure that we keep tuition low for our young people. when it comes to our tax code governor romney and i both agree our corporation tax rate is too high. so i want to lower it particularly for manufacturing. but i also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies
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shipping jobs overseas. i want to provide tax breaks for companies investing here in the united states. on energy governor romney and i both agree that we have got to boost american energy production and oil and natural gas production are higher than they have been in years. but i all thes believe that we have got to look at the energy source of the future like wind and solar and biofuels. all of this is possible. no order to do it we'll have to close our deficit. and how do we deal with our tax code and make sure we are reducing spending in a responsible way and how do we make sure we have enough revenue to make those changes. governor romney's plan calls for
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$8 trillion, how we pay for that, reduce the deficit and make the investments that we need to make without dumping those costs on middle class americans i think is one of the central questions of this campaign. >> both of you have spoken about a lot of different things. first governor romney do you have a question you would like to ask the president directly about something he just said? >> romney: sure. first of all, i don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. i don't have a tax cut. my view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class, but i'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high income people. they are doing just fine in this economy. the people having a hard time right now are middle income americans. they have been buried. they are just being crushed. middle income americans have seen their income come down by
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$4,300. this is a tax in and of itself i'll call it the economy tax. it has been crushing. at the same time gasoline prices have doubled under the president, electric rates are up, food prices are up health care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family. middle income families are being crushed. and the question is how to get them going again, and i described it energy trade, the right kind of training programs, balancing our budget, and helping small business. but the president mentioned a couple of other ideas. first education. i agree. education is key. but our training programs right now, we have 47 of them housed in the federal government reporting to eight different agencies, we have got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them. taxation, we agree we ought to bring the tax rates down and i
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do. but in order for us not to lose revenue, i also lower deductions in credits and exemptions so we keep taking in the same money when you account for growth. the third area, energy. energy is critical. and the president pointed out correctly, that production of oil and gas in the u.s. is up, but not due to his policies. in spite of his policies. all of the increase in natural gas and oil has hand on private land, not government langd. your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half on government land. if i'm president i'll double them. and bring the pipeline in from canada. and i'm going to make sure we can continue to burn coal. i want to get america and north america energy independent so we can create those jobs, and finally with regards to the tax
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cut, look, i'm not looking to cut massive taxes and reduce the revenues going to the government. my number one principal is there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. no tax cut that adds to the deficit. but i do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle income americans, and to do that, that also means i cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income americans. any language to the contrary is simply not accurate. >> mr. president. >> obama: let's talk about taxes, because i think it's instructive. now four years ago when i stood on this stage, i said that i would cut taxes for middle class families, and that's exactly what i did. we cut taxes for middle class families by about $3,600 and the reason is because i believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well and by giving them those tax cuts they
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had a little more money in their pocket, so maybe they can buy a new car, they are certainly in a better position to weather the extraordinary recession we were in to. they are spending more money. businesses have more customers, make more profits, and hire more workers. now governor romney's proposal calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. and he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. the problem is he has been asked over a hundred times how you would close those deductions and loophole, and he hasn't been able to identify them. when you add up all of the loopholes and deductions that upper income individuals can -- are currently take advantage of, you don't come close to paying for $5 trillion
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in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending. and that's why independent studies said the only way to meet governor romney's pledge of not reducing the deficit -- or not adding to the deficit is by burdening middle class families and they would pay about $2,000 more. that's the analysis of economy -- economists who have looked at this. the average person making $3 million is getting a $250,000 tax break while middle class families are burdened further. >> what is the difference -- let's just stay on taxes -- >> romney: right. >> what is the difference? >> romney: virtually everything he said about my tax plan was inaccurate. i'm not looking for a
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$5 trillion tax cut. what i said is i won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. that's part one. no economist can say mitt romney's plan adds $5 trillion when i say i will not add to the tax plan. number two, i got five boys. i'm used to people saying something that's not always true, but just keep repeating it and ultimately hoping i will believe it. but that is not the case. i will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income americans. and number 3, i will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle income families. i will lower the tax on middle income families. i saw a study that came out today that said that you are going to raise taxes by 3 to $4,000 on middle income
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families. throw all of these studies out there. but let's get to the bottom line. i want to bring the rates down at the same time lower deductions and exd exemptions and small business pace that individual rate. 54% of america's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate, and if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. for me this is about jobs -- >> that's where we started -- yeah do you challenge what the governor just said about his own plan? >> obama: well for 18 months he has been running on this tax plan, and now, five weeks before the election he is saying his big bold idea is never mind, and the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you describe, governor, then it is
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not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. it's math. it's arithmetic. now governor romney and i do share a deep interest in encouraging small business growth. so at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98% of families i also lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times, and what i want to do is continue the tax rates -- the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families but i have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year that we should go back to the rates that we had when bill clinton was president when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.
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and by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, encourage job growth through small businesses but we're also able to make the investments necessary in education or energy, and we do have a difference, though, when it comes to deaf situations of small business. under my plan, 97% of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. governor romney says well those top 3% they are the job creators, they would be burdened. but they are a whole bunch of million ayers and billionaires who are small businesses. donald trump is a small business. that's how you define small business if you are getting business income. and that kind of approach i believe will not grow our economy, because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to
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make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all of the things that are helping america grow. >> all right. >> romney: jim let me come back on that point -- >> just so everybody understands, we're way over our first 15 minutes. no problem. we're still on the economy. but we're going to come back to taxes. i want to move on to the deficit and a lot of other things too. but go ahead, sir. >> romney: you bet. mr. president you are absolutely right with regards to 97% of the businesses are not taxed at the 35% tax rate. they are taxed at a lower rate. but those businesses happen to employee half -- half of all of the people who work in small business. those are the businesses that
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employ one quarter of all of the businesses in america. i talked to a guy who has a very small business. he is in the electronics business in st. louis. he said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes. federal tax, state tax, state income tax gasoline tax, it added up to well over 50% of what they earned. and your plan is to take the tax rate successful small businesses from 35% to 40%. that will cost jobs. my priority is jobs so what i do is bring down the tax rates, lower deductions and exemptions. create more jobs because there's nothing better for getting us to an balanced budget than having more people working, earning
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more money, paying more taxes, that's by far the more efficient way to get this balanced. >> obama: jim, i would just say this to the american people if you believe we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for -- $7 trillion just to give you a sense over ten year's that's more than our entire defense budget and you think that by closing loop holes and deductions for the well to do somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then governor romney's plan may work for you, but i think math common sense and our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth. we have tried this -- we have tried both approaches. the approach that governor romney is talking about is the same sales pitch made in 2001 and 2003, and ween ended up with
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the slowest job growth in 50 years. we ended up moving from surplus to deficits and culminated in the worst financial crisis since the great depression. bill clinton tried the approach that i'm talking about. we created 23 million new jobs went from deficit to surplus, and businesses did very well. so in some ways we have data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for americans, and i believe the economy works best when middle class families are getting tax breaks so they have money in their pockets, and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can do more -- >> romney: jim the president started this segment.
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so i get the last word. >> you get the first word of the next segment. >> romney: i'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. that's not my plan. that's .1. so you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut. but that's not my plan. number 2 let's look at history. my plan is not like anything that has been tried before. my plan is to bring down rates and also bring down deductions exemptions and credits at the same time, so the revenue stays in. my priority is putting people back to work in america. they are suffering in this country. and we talk about evidence, look at the evidence of the last four years. it is absolutely extraordinary. we have 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. >> all right. >> romney: when the president took office 32 million people of
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food stamps 47 million people on food stamps today. going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it for the american people who are struggling still today. >> okay. this is a second segment theoretically still on the economy. and what to do about the federal deficit, the federal debt. governor romney you go first. and the question is this what are the differences between the two of you as to how you would go about tackling the deficit problem in this country? >> romney: i'm glad you raised that. and it's a critical issue. i think it's not just an economic issue, i think it is a moral issue. i think it's not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in knowing those burdens will be passed on to the next
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generation, and the amount of debt we're adding a trillion a year is simply not moral. how do we deal with it? mathematically there are three ways. one of course is to raise taxes. number two is to cut spending and number 3 is to grow the economy, because if more people work in a growing economy, they are paying taxes and you can get the job done that way. the president would prefer raising taxes, i understand. the problem with raising taxes is it slows down the rate of growth. i want to lower spending and encourage economic growth at the same time. what would i cut? first of all i would eliminate all programs by this test if they don't pass it. is the program so critical it is worth borrowing money from china to pay for it, if not, i'll get rid of it. obamacare is on that list -- i'm sorry mr. president, i mean no
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disrespect by using that term -- >> obama: i like it. >> romney: i'll cut programs like pbs, i'll make government more efficient and cut back the number of employees, combine agencies and departments. this is the approach we have to take to get america to an balanced budget. the president said he would cut the deficit in half. unfortunately he doubled it. trillion dollars deficits for the last four years. the president has put it in place as much public debt -- almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined. >> mr. president? >> obama: when i walked into the oaf value office i had a deficit facing me with two wars that
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were not paid for, tax cuts that were not paid for, a whole bunch of programs that were not paid for, and a massive economic crisis. yes, we had to taken initial emergency measures. but what we have all said is let's make sure we are cutting out those things that are not helping us grow. to 77 government programs everything from aircrafts that the air force had ordered but won't working very well, 18 government programs for education that were well intentioned but weren't helping kids learn. we wept after medical fraud in medicare and medicaid, very aggressively. and have saved tens of millions of dollars. and i worked with democrats and republicans to cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget.
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that's the largest cut in the discretionary domestic budget since eisenhower. i put forth a specific deficit deduction program. it is all on the website. you can look at it yourself. and the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for a dollar of additional revenue paid for as i indicated earlier by asking those of us who have done very well in this country to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit in this country. we have to do it in an balanced way with some revenue and some spending cuts. this is a major difference that we have. when governor romney stood on a stage with other republican candidates for the nomination and he was asked, would you take
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$10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue? and he said no. now, if you take such an unbalanced approach, then that means you are going to be gutting our investments in schools and education. it means that governor romney talked about medicaid and how we could send it back to the states, but this means a 30% cut in the primary program we help for seniors for kids with disabilities. >> mr. president -- >> obama: and that is not the right strategy. >> governor do you support simpson boles? >> romney: i have my own plan. but the president should have grabbed it take it go to congress and --
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>> obama: that's what we have done -- >> romney: but you have been president four years. it's now four years later, we still have trillion dollars deficits. if you are reelected we'll get to a trillion dollars debt. you said before you would cut the deficit in half. you found $4 trillion of ways to reduce or get closer to an balanced budget, except we still show trillion dollars deficits every year. that doesn't get the job done. why is it that i don't want to raise taxes? actually you said it back in 2010 you said look i'm going to extend the tax policies that we have. i'm not going to raise taxes on anyone, because when the economy is slow, you shouldn't raise taxes on anyone. well, the economy is still growing slow. so if you believe the same thing, you just don't want to raise taxes on people.
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and the reality is it's not just wealthy people -- you mentioned donald trump -- it's all of those businesses that are taxed as individuals. you raise taxes and you kill jobs. that's why the national federation of independent businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. i don't want to kill jobs in this environment. let me make one more point -- >> let's let him answer the taxes thing. >> romney: okay. >> mr. president in order to reduce the deficit there has to be revenue in addition to cuts. >> obama: there has to be revenue in addition to cuts. governor romney has ruled out revenue -- [overlapping speakers] >> romney: the revenue i get is by getting more people working paying more taxes. but the idea of taxing people more putting more people out of work, you will never get there. you will never balance the
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budget by raising tacks. spain spends 42% of their total economy on government. we're now spending 42% of our economy on government. i want to go down the path of growth that puts americans to work with more money coming in because they are working. >> mr. president you are saying in order to get the job done it has got to be balanced. >> obama: we have to take an balanced responsible approach. and this is not just individual taxes. let's talk about corporate taxes. i have identified areas where we request right away make a change they believe could help the economy. the oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare. they get deductions that those small businesses that governor romney refers to, they don't get. does anybody think that exxon mobil needs some extra money
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when they are making money every time you go to the pump? why wouldn't we want to eliminate that? why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets. if you have a corporate jet you probably can afore to pay full freight. when it comes to corporate taxes. governor romney has said he wants to close loopholes, deductions, he hasn't identified which ones they are, but thereby bring down the corporate rate. i want to do that too. and part of the way to do that is not give tax breaks to companies for moving plants overseas. you can get a deduction right now for taking companies overseas. if we take an balanced approach what that then allows us to do
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is also help young people make sure they can afore to go to college. it means the teacher they met in las vegas, wonderful young lady who describes to me she has 42 kids in her class, the first two weeks she has some of them sitting on the floor until finally they get reassigned. they are using textbooks that are ten years old. that's not a recipe for growth or how america was built. budgets reflect choices. ultimately we have to make decisions, and if we're asking for no revenue, that means we have got to get rid of a whole bunch of stuff, and the magnitude of the tax cuts that you are talk about governor would end up resulting in severe hardship for people, but more importantly would not help us grow. when you talk about shifting medicaid to states, we're talking about potentially a 30% cut in medicaid over time.
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now, you know, that may not seem like a big deal when it just is -- you know numbers on a sheet of paper but if we're talking about a family who has an autistic kid and is depending on that medicaid, that's a big problem. governors are creative but they are not creative enough to make up 30% cut on medicaid when some people end up not getting help. >> romney: jim we have gone through a lot of topics there -- so let's go through them one by one. the department of energy said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year and it's an accounting treatment that has been in place for a hundred years. >> obama: it's time to end it. >> romney: and in one year you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. i like green energy as well.
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but that's about 50 years worth of what oil and gas receives. this goes largely to small companies to drilling operators and so forth. but if we get that tax rate down to 25% that $2 billion is on the table. of course it is on the table. but don't forget you put $90 billion like 50 year's worth of breaks into solar and wind i had a friend who said you don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. so this is not the kind of policy you want to have to get america energy secure. the second topic, you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. i have been in business for over 25 years, and i have no idea what you are talking about. that is simply not the case.
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what we do have a bringing money from overseas to back to this country. and finally medicaid to the states, i would like to take the medicaid dollars, and go to states, and say you are going to get what you got last year plus inflation, and plus 1% and then manage the way you think best. as a governor when this idea was floated by tommy thompson the governors said please let us do that. we can care for our own poor in so much more effective way than having the federal government care for our poor. states are the laboratories of democracy. don't have the federal government tell everybody what kind of training departments they have to have. let states do this. if the states get in trouble, question can step in and see if
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we can help them. >> two seconds. and then we're going on. still on the economy but another part of it. >> obama: okay. >> all right. this is segment three the economy. entitlements. the first answer goes to you mr. president. do you see a major difference between the of two of you on social security? >> obama: i expect on social security we have got a somewhat similar position. social security is structurally sound. it will be have to be tweaks but the basic structure is sound, but i want to talk about the values behind social security and medicare and then talk about medicare because that is the big driver of our deficits right now. my grandmother some of you know helped to raise me. my grandfather died a while
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back. my grandmother died three days before i was elected president. and she was fiercely independent. she worked her way up and ended up being the vice president of a local bank, and she ended up living alone by choice and the reason she could be independent was because of social security and medicare. she had worked all of her life put in this money, and understood that there was a basic guarantee, a floor under which she could not go. and that's the perspective i bring when i think about what is called entitlements the name itself implies something else. these are folks who work hard and are counting on this. my approach is how do we strengthen the system over the long term. in medicare we said we are going to have to bring down the costs if we're going to deal with our long-term deficits but to do
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that, let's look at where some of the money is going. $716 billion we were able to save by no longer overpaying insurance companies, by making sure that we weren't overpaying providers, and using that money we were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for seniors by an average of $600 and make a significant dent in providing them the kind of preventative care that will save money throughout the system. so the way for us to deal with medicare in particular is to lower health care costs but when it comes to social security as i said you don't need a major structural change in order to make sure that social security is there for the future. >> governor romney you have two minutes on social security and entitlements. >> romney: jim our seniors depend on these programs. and when we talk about
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entitlements people become concerned that something is going to happen that will change their life for the worst. we are not proposing any retirees. but for younger people we need to talk about what changes will be occurred. oh, i just thought about one. and that is in fact i was wrong when the president isn't proposing any changes on retirees. he is on medicare. on medicare he is cutting $716 billion from the program. he says by not overpaying hospitals and providers, actually going to them and saying everybody is going to get a lower rate. that's saying we're cutting the rates. some 15% of hospitals and nursing homes say they won't make any more medicare patients under that scenario. and we have 50% of doctors who say they won't take anymore
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medicare patients. we have 4 million people on medicare advantage that will lose it because of those $716 billion in cuts. i can't understand how you can cut medicare $716 million for current recipients of medicare. you point out we're putting come back we'll give a better prescription program. that's $1 for every 15 you have cut. i want to take that $716 billion that you have cut, and put it back into medicare. the idea of cutting $716 billion from medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of obamacare is in my opinion a mistake. with regards to young people coming along, i have proposals to make sure the young people
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are covered. >> president obama? >> obama: governor romney would turn medicare into a voucher program. >> and you don't support that? >> obama: i don't. >> romney: again, that's for future people -- >> obama: i understand. so if you are 54 or 55 you might want to listen because this will affect you. the idea, which was originally presented by congressman ryan your running mate is that we would give a voucher to seniors, and they could go out in the private marketplace and buy their own health insurance. the problem is that because the voucher wouldn't necessarily keep up with health care inflation it was estimated that this would cost the average senior about $6,000 a year. now, in fairness what governor romney has now said is he'll maintain traditional medicare
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alongside of it. but what happens is those insurance companies are pretty clever at figuring out who are the younger and healthier seniors, they recruit them and every health care economist who looks at it says over time what happen will happen is the traditional medicare system will collapse. and then you have folks like my grandmother at the mercy of the private insurance system when they are most in need of decent health care. so i don't think vouchers are the right way to go. this is not only my opinion arp thinks the sayings we obtained from medicare, bolstered the system lengthened the medicare trust fund by eight years. benefits were not affected at all, and ironically, if you repeal obamacare, and i have become fond of this term obamacare, if you reveal it
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those seniors right away will be paying $600 more in prescription care, they will have to pay copays for basic checkups and the primary beneficiary of that repeal are insurance companies that are estimated to gain billions of dollars back when they weren't making seniors any healthier. and i don't think that's the right approach. >> we'll talk about -- specifically about health care in a moment. but do you support the voucher system, governor? >> romney: i support no change for current and near retirees to medicare, and the president supports taking $716 billion out of the program. >> what about the voucher program? >> romney: that's number one. number two is for people that are young. i want to allow them either to choose the current medicare program or a private plan their
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choice. they get to choose -- and they'll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them. so no additional $6,000 that's not going to happen. and if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums as low as the private sector people can get traditional medicare or get a private plan. i would rather have a private plan. but people make their own choice. the other thing we have to do to save medicare is we have to have help for those that are low income, but for higher-income people we have to lower some of the benefits. that's the plan i put forward and the idea came not even from paul ryan or senator riden, but it came from bill clinton's chief of staff. this is an idea which has been
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around for a long time. saying hey let's see if we can't get competition into the medicare world so people can get a choice at lower cost better quality, i believe in competition. >> obama: first of all every study has shown that medicare has lower administrative costs than private insurance does. and private insurance has to make a profit. nothing wrong with that. that's what they do. so you have hire administrative costs, plus profit on top of that, and if you are going to save any money through what governor romney is proposing what has to happen is that the money has to come from somewhere, and when you move to a voucher system you are cutting seniors at the mercy of those insurance companies, and over time if traditional medicare had decayed or fallen
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apart then they are stuck. this is the reason why aarp has said that your plan would weaken medicare substantially, and that's why they were supportive of the approach that he we took. one last point. we do have to lower the cost of health care -- >> we'll talk about that in a minute. >> obama: not just in medicare but overall -- >> romney: that's a big topic. >> yeah i want to get it to but before we leave your comment -- >> romney: let's get back to medicare. >> all right. >> romney: my -- [overlapping speakers] >> romney: my experience is the private sector is typically able to provide -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> can the two of you agree that the voters have a clear choice between the two of you on medicare. >> obama: absolutely. >> romney: absolutely.
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>> all right briefly on the economy what is your view of the federal regulation of the economy right now? is there too much? and in your case president mr. should there be more? we'll go for a few minutes and then go to health care okay? >> romney: regulation is essential. you can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. as a business person i needed the regulations. you couldn't have people opening up banks in their garage and make loans. you have to have regulations. every free economy has a good regulation. at the same time regulation could become excessive. >> like where? >> romney: it can become out of date. and with some of the legislation that has been passed you have seen regulation become excessive, and it has hurt the economy. let me give you an example. dodd-frank was passed and it
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includes a number of provisions that i think are harmful for the economy. one is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail. this is the biggest kiss that has been given to new york banks that i have ever seen. there have been 122 community and small banks have closed since dodd-frank. >> you want to repeal dodd-frank? >> romney: i would repeal and replace it. you have to have some regulation. you need transparency and leverage limits -- >> excuse me -- >> romney: let's talk -- >> let's let him respond -- let's let him respond to this specific on dodd-frank and what the governor just said. >> obama: i think this is a great example. the reason we have been in such an enormous economic crisis was
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prompted by reckless behavior across the board. it wasn't just on wall street. loan officers were giving loans and mortgages that really shouldn't have been given because the folks didn't qualify. people were borrowing money to guy a house that they couldn't afore. and you had banks making money hand over fist churching out products that the bankers themselves didn't even understand in order to make big profits, but knowing that it made the entire system vulnerable. so what did we do? we stepped in and had the toughest reforms on wall street since the 1930s. you said banks you have to ray your capitol requirements. you can't engage in some of this risky behavior. you have to have a living will
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so we know how you will wind things down if you make a bad bet. and all of the help we provided those banks was paid back, every single dime, with interest. governor romney said he wants to repeal dodd-frank. a marketplace to work has to have some regulation but in the past governor romney has said he just wants to repeal dodd-frank roll it back. does anybody think the big problem we had was there was too much oversight and regulation of wall street? because if you do, then governor romney is your candidate, but that's not what i believe. >> romney: that's just not the facts. we have to have regulation in wall street. that's why i would have
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regulation. but i wouldn't designate five banks as too big to fail. we need to get rid of that provision because it is killing regional and small banks. you say we were giving mortgages to people who weren't qualified. you are exactly right. dodd-frank correctly says we need have qualified mortgages, and if you give a mortgage that is not qualified there are big penalties. but they didn't define what a qualified more game was. so banks are reluctant to make loans -- mortgages. try to get a more game these days, it has hurt the housing market, because dodd-frank didn't anticipate putting in the kinds of regulations you have to have. i will make sure we don't hurt the functioning of our marketplace and businesses
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because i want to bring back housing and get good jobs. >> all right. i think we have another clear difference between the two of you. now let's move to health care where i know there is a clear difference, and that has to do with the affordable care act, obamacare, and it's a two-minute new segment, that means two minutes each and you go first governor romney. you want it repealed. why? >> romney: i sure do. in part it comes again from my experience. i was in new hampshire a woman came to me and said i can't afford insurance for myself or my son. i met couple in wisconsin and they said we are thinking of dropping our insurance, we can't afford it. and the number of small businesses who say they are dropping the insurance because they can't afford it.
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the budget says it adds to the costs. when the president ran for office he said that by this year he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family. instead it has gone up by $2,500 a family. second reason, it cuts $716 billion from medicare to pay for it. i want to put that money back in medicare. number 3 it puts in place an unelected board that will tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. i don't like that idea. fourth there was a survey of small businesses across the country, and three quarters of the businesses said this plan makes us less likely to hire
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people. i just don't see how the president can come in and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for obamacare instead of fighting for jobs for the american people. it has killed jobs. the best course we can do is craft at the state level. and then focus on getting costs down for people. >> mr. president the argument against repeal? >> obama: four years ago when i was running for office i was traveling around and having those same conversations that governor romney talks about, and it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket, and they couldn't get affordable coverage even if they wanted to provide it to their employees, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick.
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millions of families all across the nation. if they had coverage insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. so they are paying their premiums, somebody gets really sick lo and behold, they don't have enough money to pay the bills because the insurance companies say they have hit the limit. so we did work on this alongside working on jobs because this is part of making sure that middle class families are secure in this country. if you have health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. you keep your own insurance and your own doctor but it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around they can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits they have to let you keep your kid on your insurance plan until they are 26 years old. and you are going to have to get
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rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than actual care. number 2 if you don't have health insurance we are setting up a group plan that allows you to benefit from group rates that are typically 18% lower than if you are out there trying to get insurance on the individual market. now the last point i would make before -- >> two minutes is up sir. >> obama: i had five seconds before you interrupted me -- [ laughter ] >> obama: -- was, the irony is we have seen this model work really well in massachusetts, because governor romney did a good thing, working with democrats in the state to set up what is essentially the identical model, and as a consequence people are covered there. it hasn't destroyed jobs and as
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a consequence we now have a system in which we have the opportunity to start bringing down costs as opposed to leaving millions of people out in the cold. >> your five seconds went away a long time ago. [ laughter ] >> all right. governor tell the president directly why what he just said is wrong. >> romney: i did. but i'll go on. i like what we did in my state. what you did was to push through a plan without a single republican vote, when massachusetts did something quite extrordanaire, appoint a senator to stop obamacare, you pushed it through. what we did in the legislation
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87% democrat we were together. only two voted against the plan by the time we were finished. we can't raise taxes. you have raised them by a trillion dollars. we didn't cut medicare by $716 billion. we didn't put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they were going to receive. we put people in a position where they were going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted. right now the cdo says up to $20 million people will lose their insurance as obamacare goes into effect next year. and 30% of businesses are anticipating drops people from coverage. so for those reasons, the tax, medicare, this board, and people losing their insurance this is why the american people don't
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want medicare -- don't want obamacare, and the republicans put a plan out a bipartisan plan. it was swept aside. i think something this big, this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis and we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion legislation with input from both parties. >> obama: governor romney said this has to be done on a bipartisan basis. this was a republican idea. governor romney at the debinning of this debate said what we did in massachusetts could be a model for this nation. i agree the democrats in massachusetts might have given advice to republicans in congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is we used the same advisors and they say it is the same plan. when governor romney talks about this board for example, unelected board we have created,
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what this is, is a group of doctors, et cetera, to figure out how to reduce the cost of the system overall. there are two ways of dealing with our health care crisis one is to simply leave a bunch of people alone and figure out how to pay it for themselves. or alternatively we can figure out how do we make the cost of care more effective and there are ways of doing it. at cleveland clinic one of the best health care systems in the world they provide great care cheaper than average, and that's because they do some smart things. they say if a patient is coming in let's get all of the doctors together once.
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let's make sure we're providing preventative care. let's pay providers on the basis of performance as opposed to on the basis of how many procedures they have engaged in. now so what this board does is identifies best practices and says let's used the purchasing power of medicare and medicaid to help institutionalize all of these good things we do. the fact of the matter is when obamacare is fully implemented, we're going to be in a position to show that costs are going down, and over the last two years, healthcare premiums have gone up, it's true but slower than any time in the last 50 years. so we're already beginning to see progress in the meantime folks out there with insurance you are already getting a rebate. governor romney says we are
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going to replace it with something. but he hasn't described what we would replace it with, other than saying we're going to leave it to the state. the fact of the matter is that some of the prescriptions that he has offered there's no indication that that is going to help somebody who has a preexisting condition able to buy insurance. by repealing health care you -- >> let's let the governor explain how you would replace it? >> romney: number one preexisting conditions are covered under my mine. number two young people are able to stay on their own plan. and let's come back to something we agree on, which is the key
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task we have in health care is to get the costs down so it's more affordable for families and then he has a model for doing that a board of people at the government appointed board who are going to decide what kind of treatment you are going to have. in my opinion the government is not effective in bringing down the cost of almost anything. free people, and free enterprises are able to be more effective in bringing down the cost than the government will ever be. your example of the cleveland clinic is my case in point. this is the private market. these are small -- these are enterprising competing with each other, learning how to do better and better jobs. i used to consult with healthcare providers. we don't need to have a board of
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15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. we instead need to put insurance plans, providers hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive as you say, performance pay, and that's happening. intermountain health care does it superbly well, and so to others. but the right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to america telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. the private market and individual responsibility always works best. >> obama: this board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. that's prohibited in the law. but let's go back to what governor romney indicated; that
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under his plan he would be able to cover people with preexisting conditions. governor what your plan does is to duplicate what is already the law, which says that, you know, if you are out of health insurance for three months then you can end up getting continuous coverage and an insurance company can't deny you if it has been under 90 days. but that's already the law, and that doesn't help the millions of people out there with preexisting conditions. there's a reason why governor romney set up the plan that he did in massachusetts. it was the largest expansion of private insurance, but what it does say is is insurers you have got to take everybody. that also means you have more customers, but when governor romney says he replace it with
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something, but can't detail how it will in fact be replaced -- and the reason he set up the system he did in massachusetts is because there isn't a better way of dealing with the preexisting conditions. it reminds me of how he is going to close loopholes, but we don't know the details. he says he is going to replace dodd-frank. and he now says he is going to replace obamacare, and assure that all of the good things that are in it, are going to in there, and you don't have to worry. and at some point the american people needs to ask themselves is governor romney keeping all of these plans secret because they are too good? no, the reason is is because when we reform wall street when
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we tackle the problem of preexisting conditions then you know, these are tough problems, and we have to make choices, and the choices we have made have been ones that ultimately benefits middle class families -- >> we're going to move -- >> romney: i have to respond. my experience as a governor if i lay down a piece of legislation and say my way or the highway, i don't get it done. when ronald reagan ran for office he laid out the principles that he was going to foster, lower tax rates, broaden the base. you have said the same thing. those are my principles i'm going to work together with congress to say okay what are the various ways we could bring down deductions for instance. one way would be to have a single number, maybe can have
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deductions up of that amount and then that number disappears for higher-income people. one could follow simpson boles. there are all kinds of ways to achieve the objective i have. and with regards to health care you had remarkable de25i8s with regards to my preexisting condition plan. i do have a plan that deals with people with preexisting conditions, that's part of my health care plan. and what we did in massachusetts was a model state by state. the federal government taking over health care for the entire nation is not the course for america to have a stronger more vibrant economy. >> that is a terrific segue to her next segment, and that is
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the role of government. and role of government and it is -- you are first on this mr. president. and the question is answer this. do you believe, both of you, but you have the first two minutes on the mr. president. is there a dig between of two of you of how you view the federal government. >> obama: definitely we have ditches. the first role is to keep the american people safe. and that is something that i have worked on and thought about every single day that i have been in the oval office but i also believe that government has the capacity -- the federal government has the capacity to help open up opportunity and create ladders of opportunity and create frameworks where the american people can succeed.
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the genius of america is the free enterprise system and freedom. people can smart a business work on their own idea and make their own decisions, but as abraham lincoln said there are also things we do better together. he said let's finance the trans transcontinental railroad, and we want to give a gateway of opportunity for all americans. that doesn't restrict people's freedom, that enhances it. so what i have tried to do as president is apply those same principals. when it comes to education i have said we have to reform schools that aren't working. what we have said is to states
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we'll give you more money if you initiate reforms, and as a consequence you have 46 states that have made a real difference. and i have also said let's hire more math and science teachers and make sure that people are able to succeed. and hard-pressed states wouldn't get that. i think that is the kind of investment where the federal government can help. it can't do it all, but it can make a difference, and we'll have a better-trained work force, and that will create jobs. >> two minutes governor on the road development? >> romney: i love all schools.
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the key to great schools, great teachers. the role of government. look behind us. the constitution and decoration of independence. first life and liberty. we have a responsibility to protect the lives and liberties of our people and that means a military second to none. i do not believe in cutting our military. i believe in keeping the strength of america's military. i believe we must maintain our commitment to religious tolerance and freedom in this country. that statement also says we are endowed by our creator to pursue happiness as we choose. i intend to make sure those that
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are less fortunate, we care for one another. and we look for discovery, and innovation as all of these things desired to provide the sursuit of happiness. but we also believe the right to pursue individual's dreams. and what we're seeing right now is in my view a trickle-down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people ur pursuing their dreams, and it's not working. and the proof is 23 million people out of work. we have gone from 32 million people on food stamps to 47% on food stamps. the path we're on is not
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working. it's time for a new government. >> education. does the federal government have a responsibility to improve the quality of public education in america? >> the primary responsibility is at the state and local level. i agree with secretary arnie duncan with some of the ideas he has put forward. the federal government can get local and state schools to do a better job. my own view is i have added to that. i want the kids getting federal dollars from idea or title one. these are disabled or lower income kids, and i want them to be able to go to the school of their choice. so all federal funds i would have if you will follow the child.
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>> how do you see the fed ram government's responsibility to improve the quality of education in this coup try. >> obama: as i indicated i think it has a significant role to play. we have worked with governors to initiate major reforms and they are having an impact right now. >> do you think there is a difference between you and governor romney on education? >> obama: this is where budgets matter because budgets reflect choices, so when governor romney indicates that he wants to cut taxes and potentially benefit folks like me and him, and to pay for it we're having to initiate significant cuts in federal support for education, that makes a difference. congressman ryan put forward a budget that reflects many of the principals that governor romney
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talks about. if you extrapolated how much goneny we're talking about, you are looking at cuts the education budget by up to 20%. when it comes to community colleges, we are seeing great work done out there all over the country, because we had the opportunity to train people for jobs that exist right now. get businesses to work with community colleges so they are setting up the training programs -- >> do you agree governor? >> obama: let me just finish. >> okay. [overlapping speakers] >> obama: where they are partnering, so that -- they are designing training programs and people going through them know there is a job waiting for them and that requires some federal support. let me just say one final example. when it comes to making college affordable, two or four year. one of the things i did as
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president is we were sending $60 billion to banks and lenders for the student loan program. they were taking billions out of the system even though there was 240 risk. and we said why not cut out the middleman, and we were able to provide millions of more students assistance. keep lower interest rates on student loans, and this is an example of where our priorities make a difference. governor romney i genuinely cares about education, but when he tells a student you should borrow money from your parents to go to college, that indicates that there may not be as much of a focus on the fact that folks like michelle and myself just don't have that option o to
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make sure that they have the opportunity to walk through the door, that is vitally important. >> we're running out of time gentlemen -- yes, sir. >> romney: mr. president you are entitled to your own airplane and house, but you are not entitled to your own facts. you make a very good point which is the place you put your money makes a pretty clearcation of where your heart is. in you put $90 billion into green jobs. and i'm all in favor of green energy. $90 billion that would have hired 2 million teachers. and these businesses -- many of them have gone out of business i think about half of them have gone out of business a number happen to be owned by people who are contributors to your
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campaigns. look the right course for america's government is not to become the economic player picking winners and losers taking over the health care system that has existed in this country for a long long time and produced the best health records in the world. the right answer is how do we get schools to be more competitive. i propose we grade our schools so parents can take their child to a school that is being more successful. i don't want to cut our commitment to education. i wanted to make it more effective. i don't just talk about it. i have been there. massachusetts schools are ranked number one in the nation not because i didn't have commit to education. it is because i care about education for all of our kids.
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>> all right. gentlemen we barely have three minutes left. i'm not going to grade the two of you and say your answers have been too long or i have done a poor job -- >> obama: you have done a great job, jim. >> the role of government and governing, we have lost a pod in other words, so we only have three minutes left in the debate before we go to your closing statements, so i want to ask finally here, and remember we have three minutes total time here, and the question is this, many of the legislative functions of the federal government right now are in a state of paralysis as a result of partisan gridlock. if elected in your case if re-elected what would you do about that? governor? >> i had the great experience of being in my state where the
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legislature had 87% democrat. and that meant i had to reach across the aisle -- >> what would you do as president. >> romney: i'll sit down with leaders and continue -- as we did in my state, we met every month for -- monday for a couple of hours. there's common ground and the challenges america faces right now -- the reason i'm in this race is there are people that are really hurting in this country, and this deficit could crush the future generations. there are developments around the world that are of real concern and republicans and democrats both love america, but we need to have leadership in washington that will bring people together and get the job done, and could not careless if
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it is a republican or a democrat. i have dope it before and i'll do it again. >> mr. president. >> obama: governor romney will have a very busy first day, because he is also going to repeal obamacare. but my philosophy has been i will take ideas from anyone as long as they are advancing the opportunities for middle class families. that's how we signed three trade deals into law that are helping us to double our experts and sell more american products around the world. that's how we ended the war in iraq and how we'll wind down the war in afghanistan. so we have seen progress, but
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ultimately part of being principaled, part of being a leader is, a, being able to describe exactly what you intend to do, not just saying i'll sit down, but you have to have a plan. number 2 occasionally you have got to say no to folks both in your own party and in the other party. and have we had some fights between me and the republicans, when they fought back against us, absolutely. because that was a fight that needed to be had. when we were fighting about whether or not we were going to make sure that americans had more security with their health insurance, that was a fight we needed to have. part of leadership and governing is saying both what you are for but also being willing to say no to some thing. and governor romney has not displayed the willingness to say no to some of the more extreme
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parts of his party. >> that brings us to closing statements. there was a coin toss, governor romney you won the toss and you elected to go last. so you have a closing two minutes mr. president. >> obama: jim i want to thank you, and i want to thank governor romney because i think this was a terrific debate and i want to thank the university of denver. four years ago we were going through a major crisis and yet my faith and confidence in the american future is undiminished and the reason is because of its people. because of the woman i net in north carolina who decided at 5 to go back to school because she wanted to inspire her daughter, and now has a job because of the training she has gotten. because of the company in minnesota who was willing to give up salaries and perks for
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their employees. the auto workers in detroit take pride in building the best car in the world because it gives them that sense of pride that they are helping to build america. so how do we build on those strengths, and everybody i'm proposing for the next four years, in terms of developing american energy, or closing loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas and focusing on companies creating jobs here in the united states, all of those things are designed to make sure that the american people their genius, their grit their determination is channelled and -- and they have an opportunity to succeed. and everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is getting a fair share, and everybody is playing by the same rules.
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four years ago, i said that i'm not a perfect man and i wouldn't be a perfect president, and that's that is probably a promise that governor romney thinks i have kept but i promised i would fight every single day for the american people. i have kept that promise, and if you'll vote for me then i promise i'll fight just as hard in the second term. >> governor romney. >> obama: thank you jim, and mr. president, and thank you for tuning in this evening. i'm concerned about america and the direction it has been taken the last four years. i know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals, it's bigger than our respective parties, it's an election about the course of america. there are two very different paths we began speaking about
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this evening. we'll talk more about those two paths, and it's not just looking at our words you can look at the record. there's no question in my mind if the president were to be reelected you will continue to see a middle income squeeze. we have had 43 straight months with unemployment up above #%. if i am president i will help create 12 million new jobs in this country. if the president is reelected obamacare will be fully installed. in my view that will mean a whole different way of life. you will see health premiums go up by some $2,500 per family. if i'm elected we'll put in place the kind of principals that i have put in my home state, and allow each state to draft their policy.
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if the president were to be reelected you will see a $716 billion cut to medicare. i'll restore that $716 billion to medicare, and finally, military. if the president is reelected you will see dramatic cuts to our military. i will not cut our commitment to our military. i will keep america strong and get america's middle class working again. thank you, jim. >> thank you governor. thing you mr. president. the next debate will be the vice president debate at thursday october 11th at center college in danville kentucky. for now, from the university of denver i'm jim lehrer. thank you and good night. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> cenk: there you have it the first presidential debate of 2012. i have a feeling we have mixed feelings about how that debate went. of course you have to keep in mind we'll be discussing tactics here. we know all of the policies and facts that go behind us. some of the viewers might be experiencing those policies in substance for the first time and they might have a different take. now on to the tactics and how it appears, vice president gore? >> al gore: i said before the debate that i thought that romney was going to be a better performer tonight, because he knows how far behind he is and he had to bring his a game, and i think he did. i don't think it was the best debate performance for president obama. i agree with you we'll have to see how the specifics on the substantive issues settle in as
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people reflect on them. but the first visceral reaction i had was that romney did himself some good in this debate. i'm strongly supporting president obama, and i think he is going to win, but i don't think this was his best night. >> cenk: governor grandholm? [ laughter ] >> jennifer: i'm sad to say that i agree, and i really really am sad to say that i agree, because i so wanted to be wrong about thinking that romney was going to come out swinging. i think the president -- he was right on facts, but there were opportunities that were missed. so the not saying -- not hitting back on the $716 billion was a missed opportunity. i know the fact checkers -- >> al gore: and romney said it five times. >> cenk: or six times.
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>> jennifer: and there was stuff about cayman islands that would have been mentioned. all of that. but if you look at what is happening on line, the fact checkers -- there is style versus substance. the fact checkers were going crazy because of romney's statements and failure to identify again which of the deductions that he would cut -- i mean his continual saying i will repeal and replace without specifying anything was driving people crazy. >> john: and no one asked. >> eliot: this was matter we all came back to this before the demeanor. the demeanor of the president was tired exhausted, defense. the president -- my daughter who is 2,000% in barack obama's camp
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said he looked like a tired pup by dog tonight. i have done these ten things in the last four years to save this nation. he never said it. he didn't mention the auto bailout until the last 30 seconds. i'm just mystified at the lack of energy passion and precision in his answers. >> john: we saw the president take a lot of punches tonight. i couldn't believe how he just kept taking the punches over and over again, i think john kerry might be enjoying the engineer of his second term right now. and folks at home you have know idea what it was like watching the debates with these folks here. however, i don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. i think barack obama was trying to play out of the john
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mccainhand book, be cool, and restained. what you saw tonight was that approach didn't work and you will see a different strategy the next debate. >> eliot: mitt romney finally cut back to the middle. he wasn't the radical far-right extreme voice. we saw a rational analytical and empathetic mitt romney and president obama did nothing to take that apart. and i'm just amazed that we didn't see a more aggressive cross-examination. >> cenk: going into the debate i thought mitt romney would over do it going for zingers. it turned out president obama overdid it by playing defense too much. we would give way too many numbers, and it seemed like he would want to bore the audience
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enough that they would change the channel and we would maintain his lead. i think mitt romney hit his sweet spot which is mr. participate, jim lehrer i like you big bird i like you, but i'm going to fire you all anyway. he was strong without seeming overly aggressive. >> jennifer: i thought romney was patronizing in a number of places, and i was offended by that. i also think if you read the transcript as opposed to what you saw that you would say, wow, the president came across as more substantive more factual, more specific. that is good. it is just the style part of it -- i'm just saying. >> eliot: two people are going to read the transcript -- >> jennifer: i know.
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but as a fallout of the fact checking because of what romney did not say -- >> eliot: first couple of minute when mitt romney was going on i'm going to lower taxes for the middle class why he didn't turn to him and gay governor romney we have been asking you for two years to name your loopholes. >> cenk: we have a lot more of this analysis coming up the specifics on what president obama did score on and what romney scored on and then the next -- facts when we return on current.
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(vo) she gets the comedians laughing and the thinkers thinking. >>ok, so there's wiggle room in the ten commandments, that's what you're saying. (vo) she's joy behar. >>current will let me say anything. ♪ >> cenk: we're back on current's politically direct coverage of the presidential debate. you are looking at denver there, where there are a lot of people on stage looking for president obama's mouthpiece.
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>> jennifer: what does that mean? >> cenk: he got it knocked out tonight. >> jennifer: that is not true. >> john: but it will be different in two weeks. >> jennifer: was the game changer? is this going to change the dynamics -- >> john: buster douglas never wanted another fight after he beat mike tyson. >> jennifer: that's what i'm saying is it all of a sudden going to flip to romney? >> cenk: no, i hope the debates don't matter that much. but in the end they are going to go back to who represents me? who do i connect with? who is going to represent the middle class. i still think at the end of the day they are going to vote for president obama, but this was not a good night.
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>> al gore: before we get too locked in, and i kind of started this off after the debate stopped, of course we had been talking through the debate, but before we get too carried away on this group conclusion. in-trade which has gotten a lot of credibility over the years called it even and said obama lost the first half but did better in the second half. i don't necessarily agree with them, but i hope they are right. >> cenk: we're acting as pundits here, and what is most important is what the american people thought. >> jennifer: that's right. >> cenk: and they have a different perspective than we do. a lot of this might have been knew to them. i didn't know president obama's plan was this, and mitt romney on vouchers god i hate that plan. >> eliot: let's hope that is the
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case, but i think the five of us have some collective experience in gauging what the public's response would be as well. i think in response to your point, cenk, the president could have closed the door on the election tonight. and mitt romney is as extreme as he has appeared to be in this campaign thus far, it would have been game over. so now the opportunity continues for mitt romney. and it also makes a lot of the senate racers closer. there is a lot of down ballot implication here. if the presidential race becomes closer in virginia because of what romney said about coal. then suddenly kaine -- webb is our guy, the kaine allen race is one that is up for grabs again. >> al gore: i was going to say
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exactly the same thing. that after the democratic convention and particularly after the 47% gaffe by romney and the libya interpret statement in the middle of an international crisis we saw a big change in favor of democrats in the senate and house races, really across the board. you are right, this could blunt that rise and could make a big difference if obama wins reelection what kind of congress he has to work with. >> jennifer: i don't think that this debate is going to impact the presidential race much less the down-ballot races. >> al gore: i hope you are right. >> jennifer: i think it is a debate. as john was saying, we're going to come back, and you will see a different president, and his second debate, he also has joe
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biden coming up with paul ryan. this ain't -- you know democrats, progressives don't be worried. [ laughter ] >> cenk: i think the president has run a brilliant campaign up until this moment. and i think they are going to look and see what we saw. the president doesn't respond to the $716 billion taken from medicare, and he doesn't respond. they have got to change course in the next set of debates. >> eliot: two things those sort of tensions came through at every level, and here is why progressives should be worried. the performance tonight from
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president obama isn't the guy we wanted to elect. we elected somebody who was wrong had vision and capacity to articulate and energize people. he has got to come back as a different person next time. >> cenk: david shuster hah a point of the spin rooms. >> it is a bit interesting and somewhat strange, the romney campaign had their top surrogates in the spin rooms, there was marco rubio, and as soon as the debate was over they started spinning. not a single person from the obama campaign stepped into the room. maybe the obama campaign knows something about how to reach the media that the media doesn't know. but it was kind of pick kul lar especially because some of the
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top spokes people stephanie cutter and others were there before the debate began. i don't want to read too much into it, but it was a bit peculiar. >> eliot: you just said at the very end the hammering they are getting. is your sense -- what is being said there in terms of sort of first take on how the debate went? >> well a number of people in the media room was calling this the big bird debate. big bird is now trending in the media room, but seriously, though, the sense is -- and look, you have got 300 television monitors in the media room, and they are all being
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blasted. and even cnn which i think people would say they are an arbiter, the first words out of his mouth was this was not a good night for president obama. the obama campaign they have the tv monitors back there as well and they know what is being said. so i have a feeling they are very aware that they are getting hit pretty hard. >> cenk: all right. david shuster thank you for joining us. and there will be a round two here, which is the fact checkers. in the kennedy nixon debates, here if you watched it on tv, you might have thought that mitt romney won, be you check the fact checkers tomorrow you might think president obama won.
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>> john: i do think a few things are certain. number 1 you are going to see mitt romney boasting a lot for the next two weeks, and number two you'll see a whole different approach from the president to come back. >> cenk: yeah, apparently they were calling it the big bird debate. i thought it was the malaise debate for president obama. but mitt romney came at him from the left on several instances. on the dodd-frank issue, you let the big banks remain too big. like he cares. >> that's the etch-a-sketch-ificatoin. >> eliot: why didn't the president say, how are you going to keep them small? he didn't take him to task. he didn't challenge him.
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>> al gore: he also blamed obama implicitly for the fact that the dodd-frank regulations have not been put into effect for two years. the lobbyist on slot is responsible for that. >> cenk: i believe his top eight funners are all banks. so for mitt romney to pretend that he wants to limit the size of banks is the biggest joke. >> jennifer: name one answer that you thought that the president handled well. >> cenk: i thought he did a good job on medicare again, left the 716 unanswered there. but on the issue of medicare i think a lot of people might have sat at home -- and this might be a more important issue than anything else, especially when you look at florida. when he said look this guy is going to privatize and give you a voucher, and what if your voucher running out.
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>> al gore: i'm going to say something controversial here. obama arrived in denver at 2:00 pm today. just a few hours before the debates started. romney did his debate prep in denver. when you go to 5,000 feet -- >> john: exactly. >> al gore: and you only have a few hours to adjust -- >> jennifer: that's interesting. [overlapping speakers] >> cenk: one quick thing here. i just came from l.a. the same day. i drank two cups of coffee. >> john: the first time i ever did stand up in denver i had the same effect. it makes you drawn and off. the president has an off night. >> jennifer: but tell me a good answer. >> john: i agree with jenks i think he explained voucherism
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better than ever. >> eliot: i think the substance of that transwould read well in a transcript -- >> jennifer: give me something good. come on eliot. >> eliot: he spoke to his wife with no passion. [ laughter ] >> eliot: that was the only moment when i saw in his eyes the energy and caring that got him elected president -- >> jennifer: what about when he quoted lincoln? >> eliot: it sounded old. >> cenk: all right. vice president gore what did he do right? >> al gore: well that was going to be my answer. i thought he handled the medicare question well. but he allowed governor romney to make that $716 billion charge that was completely blown away at the democratic convention and then all of a sudden it's
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back again. >> eliot: uh-huh. >> al gore: and somebody who just tuned in for the first time might think president obama is cutting all of this money out of medicare, and romney is going to ride to the rescue. >> cenk: now all of a sudden we have drama. >> jennifer: that's for sure. >> cenk: we're looking forward to the vice presidential debate which we will be covering here on current next thursday, and then two more presidential debates, and now i can't wait to see how president obama responds, and we will certainly be looking forward to that as well. thank you so much for watching tonight with us on current.
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